Length: 936 ft
Passengers (all berths): 2,014
Best For People Who Want
The modern day version of the more traditional cruise experience; sophisticated, elegant surroundings and design; large staterooms, with several alternate dining options.Onboard Experience
Holland America's newest ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, is the second of the line's new "Signature-class" of vessels and with a few exceptions, aside from interior décor, is identical to her sister, the Eurodam.
For repeat HAL cruiser's, as you walk around the ship, though the spaces have been expanded due to the larger spaces available, with the layout of the public rooms everything will seem to be very familiar. The stretch through from the Queen's Lounge, the Northern Light's Disco, casino bar, casino, and piano bar is almost identical in locations to the Vista Class ships; as are the Ocean Bar and Explorations lounges.
While Holland America's older Vista Class ships have been updated to reflect Holland America's "Signatures of Excellence" upgrades, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam were built to the "Signatures of Excellence" standards. This includes a Culinary Arts Program with a show kitchen for demonstrations and classes, located in the Queen's Lounge, presented by Food & Wine magazine.
When not in use for the Culinary Arts Program the Queen‘s Lounge serves as the ship's movie theatre with a large screen, for showing fairly recent movie releases as well as major sporting events, if they were to occur during your cruise.
A very popular feature is the dedicated area for the "Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft"; where Microsoft trained staff teach digital photography, video editing, blogging, and web skills, all at no cost.
Located forward on Deck 11, next to the Crow's Nest Lounge, is The Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times. Here you'll find the book and DVD library, Internet center, and music listening area, as well as a kiosk featuring specialty coffees available for purchase. With panoramic views, and comfortable furniture, it's a wonderful spot to relax with a good book, or check in, via email, with family at home.
The ship has a large casino, with plenty of table games, slot machines, craps, and a Texas Hold Em table readily accepting your donations. Unlike many cruise ship casinos, the décor here is very sophisticated; more like Monte Carlo than Las Vegas. The staff were incredibly friendly, and helpful; enhancing the gaming entertainment.
New on Nieuw Amsterdam, and Eurodam, are private cabanas holding lush Balinese lounge chairs big enough for two people are available in two different areas of the ship. The "Lido Cabanas" are in the deck area of the main pool inside the magrodome. The other area is "The Retreat," high atop deck 11 forward, but facing astern. The Lido cabanas can be leased for $30 on port days and $50 on sea days. Retreat cabanas are $45 (port days) and $75 (sea days). Both come with flavored mineral waters, chilled fruit, Evian spritzes and champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries served in the late afternoon. A masseuse can be summoned for a private massage for the same fee as in the Spa.
One of my favourite things about this ship is the numerous table and chair set-ups, both by the mid-ship, Lido Pool, and the aft, SeaView Pool (some in the shade, some in the shade). I truly enjoy having breakfast and lunches, and even dinners, on a beautiful evening, al fresco; with plenty of seating available it's much easier to do on Nieuw Amsterdam than many other cruise lines.Public Rooms
As mentioned earlier, the public room layouts were designed to provide familiarity , and most of the standard Holland America public rooms are also on Nieuw Amsterdam. The Crow's Nest, situated with a commanding view from the forward top deck of the ship, seats 165 people and has a row of chairs looking forward through angled glass windows.
The Ocean Bar features classical music nightly along with brandies and other sipping beverages. The Piano Bar is the traditional sing-along forum with a talented and comedic keyboard host playing requests, punctuated by barroom jokes, on his barstool surrounded baby grand. Northern Lights, the Disco/Karaoke bar is tastefully hidden away so the music and atmosphere can get busy inside without interrupting the relative calm of the rest of the ship.Cuisine
In the ship's main restaurant, the Manhattan Dining Room, HAL has improved the food in recent years as a result of more contemporary menu selections. The continental cuisine offers a broad selection each evening, beautifully plated.
The alternative (extra cost $20 pp at dinner, $10 pp for lunch) Pinnacle Grille on the Nieuw Amsterdam showcases "Sterling Silver" beef, and well as chops and fresh seafood, with world class wines available. On this ship the Pinnacle stands out from the same restaurant on other HAL ships, with it's roomier feel and gorgeous design.
Tamarind is a new alternative (extra cost $15 pp for dinner, complimentary for lunch) restaurant on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, where the cuisine is Pan-Asian.
Canaletto is a complimentary Italian dining restaurant, transformed in the evenings within the Lido Deck buffet seating area. Full restaurant service is offered from the Italian menu, and reservations are highly recommended.
One unique thing about Canaletto is, aside from the other desserts offered, a large plate of fluffy candy floss is delivered to the table once you finish with your entrees.Restaurants
The regular dining room, the Manhattan Restaurant, is two decks high and features tables for two to ten people. The "Manhattan theme" is carried boldly in this restaurant, with a bit of a art-deco touch. The room offers both traditional cruise dining with early and late seating and pre-assigned tables and servers, on the top floor. Or guests can opt for anytime "As You Wish" dining where you eat when and with whom you choose, on the lower level of the dining room. Reservations are accepted for As You Wish dining. Breakfast and lunch are served here, using open seating.
The newest alternative dining venue, a first for Holland America on the Eurodam, and now on Nieuw Amsterdam, is the Tamarind Restaurant featuring Asian fusion cuisine. The cover charge is $15 per person for dinner, but it is free for lunch serving dim sum. The nighttime choices include Asian-inspired entrees such as sea bass with hoisin-lime glaze, wasabi-soy-encrusted beef , steamed lobster with garlic, or shrimp Szechwan with basil. Also on tap are Peking duck and Asian curry dishes.
Located next to Tamarind is a beautiful cocktail lounge called the "Silk Den" featuring "Saketinis," or martini-like beverages similar to martinis but based on sake. Silk Den is designed with an area cabana-like seating, with intimate seating groupings, separated from each other by flowing curtains.
The top alternative dining venue is the Pinnacle Grill, now on every ship in the Holland America fleet. This restaurant features Seattle-style Pacific Northwest cuisine, such as steaks, chops, and fresh seafood.
Canaletto is an Italian-theme venue created nightly in a section of the Lido restaurant. There is no cover charge for this restaurant, which features waiters and tables set in the dining room style to offer table-side Italian service of veal, fish, and several different pasta dishes.
Located mid-ship next to the Lido Pool is the Terrace Grill, and here the varied selection will surprise those expecting the normal hamburger and hot dog choices. The menu at the Terrace Grill also offers turkey or lamb burgers, Croque Monsieur, as well as pita pockets.
By the SeaView Pool, aft, is Slice. As you'd likely guess, this is where fresh and very tasty pizzas are served.
The Lido Restaurant,, has a separate salad bar, several carving stations, and the infamous HAL ice cream and hot cookies, always free of charge, and available after lunch and throughout the day. They are several flavors of ice cream and toppings available.
Many new ships on other cruise lines have moved to a design using separate "action stations" spread around the Lido restaurant. Other than the salad bar, HAL continues to use a straight line buffet counter design, yet they have tried to separate different specialty areas within the line. One can get their salad and then move to a specific part of the counter for their next selection. You just have to home the other passengers have it figured out as well, and don't just think you're "cutting into the line".
Room service is offered 24 hours a day at no additional charge, with hang cards for pre-ordering breakfast the night before. The breakfast selection is quite broad, and not limited to simple continental breakfasts like many other lines.
Dining Room menu choices are available en-suite during dinner restaurant hours. The regular en-suite dining menu is limited and varies by breakfast, noon to 10:00 p.m., and after-hours dining choices.Service
Holland America is known for it's gracious, ever-attentive staff, that are some of the best at sea in the premium class due to the line's most organized system of grooming crewmembers. With schools in Indonesia and the Philippines feeding the crew for the fleet. The service staff are consistently friendly, and most often will remember your name by the second day of your cruise.
I was on a short (4 night) inaugural sailing, and I found confusion reigned amongst the restaurant staff, as well as the room steward. Though, I think that much of that was caused by the every present "new ship glitches", and I have little doubt that by the time this is printed everything will be as one would expect on a Holland America ship.Tipping
For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping required policy, but it has fallen in line with other cruise lines automatically charging gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) to the shipboard accounts for dining and stateroom service. Though the option to remove that gratuity is available by visiting Guest Relations. There is also a 15 percent service charge automatically added to bar bills.Entertainment
/Activities: The "Mainstage" showroom is the best yet on a Holland America ship, with state-of-the-art theatrical stage effects like video screens and laser lights. In this showroom, Holland America has replaced the bench and coffee-table seating with true theater-style seating. The sight lines in the balcony are greatly improved over previous Holland America ships by replacing the brass and glass safety railings with deep but lower buttresses where one can easily see over the top.
On my inaugural voyage I was unfortunately late leaving the dining room or restaurant each evening, and didn't get a personal look at the entertainment.
Holland America normally features "typical" cruise ship musical revues, with a talented cast, as well as several feature performers during a regular sailing. On this sailing, I heard rave reviews from those who saw the act called "Fear No Ice", which was two men doing miraculous ice carvings, using chain saws to create them.
Nieuw Amsterdam has a sing-along piano bar, a sports bar (with several flat-screen TV monitors connected to satellite feeds), a karaoke bar and of course an expansive casino.
The new Culinary Arts Center, with overhead video monitors for those seated far from the action, is set up very much like a TV Food Channel set, and must be adjudged a marvelous addition. A number of demonstration classes are offered at no charge. Hands-on classes, limited to about a dozen students, charge modestly. As these classes are very popular, be sure to sign up early.Cabins
On Nieuw Amsterdam the first thing you'll notice is that one must slip their "room key" into a slot by the doorway before the lights will come on. This is an energy saver recently introduced on several other new ships.
On one hand, it's also handy because you always know where your key is. On the other (and I speak from experience) it's easy to forget, and walk out of your cabin with the key still in it's slot, as the cabin door closes.
The cabins are just as enticing as the rest of this beautiful ship, with complimentary bathrobes, Elemis bath products (in in-tub/shower) dispensers, flat-screen televisions, and DVD players with movies available in the extensive Explorations Café, described earlier.
Sizes vary from smaller inside cabins to expansive suites. All feature the line's "Signature of Excellence" enhancements such as extra-plush mattresses, Egyptian cotton towels, make-up mirrors, massage showers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit.
Passenger staterooms include two Penthouse verandah suites of 1,000 sq. ft. and 318 sq. ft. verandahs. Deluxe suites vary from 380 to 570 sq. ft. A standard verandah suite is a very generous 300 sq. ft (at least one-third larger than the average cruise ship cabin). There are some larger than average inside staterooms of 255 sq. ft. as well as the standard 175 sq. ft.
Those occupants of SV category suites and above get exclusive access to the private Neptune's Lounge, which offers free coffee, pastries, DVD movies (for in-suite viewing) and concierge services such as making shore excursion and restaurant reservations for the guest.
On the top deck near the Retreat and the Greenhouse Spa are 56 luxury verandah Spa Suites. These suites are smaller than the average verandah stateroom, with smaller balconies as well, but they feature organic bathrobes, a selection of flavored mineral waters, a constantly flowing water fountain and a Bose docking station for playing music from an iPod. There is a special breakfast spa menu with fresh-squeezed juices and organic muffins. Special night-time chocolates are infused with relaxing herbs.
There's no self-service laundry on this ship, although several laundry packages are available through your room steward.Fitness/Spa
The Greenhouse Spa offers the usual assortment of massages and facials, and it has a thermal suite where guests can indulge in essential oil infused steam baths, relax in a massage thelassotheray pool and relax on heated ceramic lounge chairs until the warmth envelopes your body. Pricing for the thermal suite is $25/day per person, or $150 per person per cruise for the first person and $100 for each additional person per cabin.
A nice alternative to a massage is a day pass to either the thelasotherapy pool with extremely strong water jets to soothe your muscles ($20/day), or you can go to the steam and aromatherapy center and relax on heated loungers and take steam baths infused with essential oils. Day passes to this are also $20/day. Or you can buy a weekly pass to both for $250 unlimited.
There are two outdoor swimming pools, one with a Magrodome roof that can be closed in case of inclement weather. There are also several hot tubs available at no charge. The large gym has state-of-the-art strengthening and aerobic equipment, and there's a jogging track on one of the upper decks. There's a nominal charge for some of the exercise classes.Attire
HAL continues the more traditional dress codes with two formal nights on a seven night cruise. Chances are you'll find half the men opting for a dark suit rather than bringing, or renting a tuxedo. Casual on these ships means comfortable, but T-shirts, jeans, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are all forbidden in the dining rooms and public areas. It isn't allowed, but also not unusual for people to change back to casual after dinner on formal nights. As long as you stick to the deck areas or casino, no one will frown at you.
My family party of 11 spent thanksgiving on the Nieuw Amsterdam on a 7 night cruise. The food was substandard in all dining areas. There were insufficient staffing in the main dining rooms and the food was extremely slow in arriving at the table. I have cruised on three other lines and must say HAL is the poorest quality of all.
The Nieuw Amsterdam was a disappointment in some regards. First, the centrum lobby which is usually an amazing space, is here rather small and lame with an idiotic green glass staircase that invites a fall.
The Manhatten dining room lower level where the dine as you can passengers eat, is disconcertingly low-ceiling and of all things, bright, glaring red as is the upper dining room. It was often too hot in this room, a fact the waiters are aware of. The service for dine as you can passengers is spotty and often slow and made me wish that we had eaten at the regular times in the dining room above. However those times are problematic as you will discover. On nights that a party is being held up on the Lido deck, forget altogether about eating in the dining room as the menus then are second rate and the service poor.
The pool area is lovely with comfy, wide lounges, however not enought of them even in October. But what is annoying are the line of little rental tents blocking the sea windows where there are beds and tables, a space forpeople who want to think they are rich and famous.
The lido lounge is quite beautiful with orchids on every table, but the lines are long and getting a table a hassle especially as they have done away with trays so that you have to go back and line up for your beverages.
The showroom was glamorous with great seating and wonderful staging ability. However the entertainment was lackluster at best although the musicals were great and the dancers and singers talented.
Shore excurisions, transfers, and Internet were all seriously overpriced to the point where one feels ripped off and there was much grumbling about that. The photos as well now start at $20.
The spa too is expensive but if you wait a few days, they will offer a special on the use of the thermal assay pool for $15 daily instead of $40. The special massage deals shortchange you on time and then there is the five minute sell on about $700 worth of product they have used on you? The three best things a out this ship are the new Kitchen At Sea demos and tastings that are fun and free. Secondly the wonderful Explorations lounge which combines a great library with games tables, the Internet, a coffee bar, and a large area with comfy leather chairs with sea views and a bar adjacent. And thirdly the lovely Silk Room bar with exotic, enclosed tents with sofas and cushions and an overview of the deck below. No one was ever in there for some reason.
I have always enjoyed the little shops around the centrum lobby. On this ship there is one large shop, disappointing merchandise and downright irritating employees.
Our stateroom and balcony was faultless except for the fact that they put one comfy wicker chair on the balcony and one small uncomfortable chair...why? We had our steward change that.
We sailed round trip from Venice and the Venice ship transfer was an outrageous $79 each to the airport. There is a bus shuttle outside the ship for free, to the people mover, which is $1 euro, which takes you to the Piazza Roma, where a blue airport bus is waiting for $6 . Just as fast. Their fee is simply exorbitant.
All in all, taking in the above factors, I would choose another ship.
I missed the ability to have a cup of coffee or a meal outside overlooking the stern. In general I think the design of this ship is wanting although there were things I appreciated, and so would likely not sail her again.
Fellow passengers please beware. I booked a 24 night cruise departing Venice on 18 July 2012. I booked directly with Holland America UK on 7 April. Shortly after booking I saw exactly the same cruise, in the same cabin hundreds of pounds cheaper with a travel agent. I emailed Holland America on 8 April asking why this way. I got no reply. I emailed them again on 12 April. Got no reply. Sent them a letter on 24 April. Got no reply. Wrote another letter on 17 May to Lynn Narraway, Head of their UK operation. Got no reply. I then posted some comments on facebook warning potential customers to think twice before booking with them. Then got an immediate reply on facebook asking for further details (probably from Americans who know how to do customer Service). I then got an email on 7 June from a UK Holland America representative saying it was not their policy to match the lower price I had seen. I then replied asking for an explanation as to why no one had bothered to reply to my earlier two emails and two letters. Thatwas on 7 June and guess what - no reply! I have paid thousands of pounds to Holland America and they couldn't give me the time of day. Their customer service is the WORST I have ever encountered. I really wish I had booked with another cruise line. I haven't taken the cruise yet and am very upset that they have been treated like this. Please beware when booking with this company, once they have your money, they are not interested.